Q: What is PDA-supported Donna Edwards doing to grow the progressive movement? (Probably nothing)

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

(cross-posted at dailykos.com and my.firedoglake.com)

I’ve long been struck by the ineffectiveness of activists in the US, at least when they oppose plutocratic agendas. And I’ve also been dismayed by the continuing failure to organize voters along progressive lines. For some issues, like healthcare, the “progressive” viewpoint is actually mainstream.

It’s clear to me that, while corporatists and banksters have all the democracy-corrupting infrastructure, already in place (think K-Street) that they could possibly desire, progressives do little to create countervailing democracy-enhancing infrastructure. They do not effectively organize, and thus grow their political muscle, at least with respect to specific progressive issues (like healthcare).

The Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) is an organization (that I belong to, even though I’ve never been a Democrat) that has a progressive agenda, and that I have praised as “sticking to it’s guns”. I don’t believe that PDA could properly called a member of the “Veal Pen”, though in many respects it behaves as timidly as any veal pen group. (See my comments here, here, and here.)

On July 10, 2009, I posted the following on a live blogging event at OpenLeft, of Representative Donna Edwards.

What are progressive lawmakers doing to help build up a progressive movement? (4.00 / 1)

I just finished listening to a Gary Null program  where he was talking about various issues where the Obama administration was up to what I will describe as considerable evil (food safety, Holder being given “dictatorial” powers to declare, e.g., anti-war protesters as terrorists, etc.). The progressive movement is too weak to roll back the increasing enslavement of the public to corporatist agendas.

Which makes me wonder why progressive Congress persons, such as yourself, do not play a bigger role in inspiring and organizing citizens to grow the progressive movement. Right now, the progressive movement is not effective in getting large numbers of Donna Edwards’ and Dennis Kucinich’s elected to office.

As an example of opportunity lost, consider Rep. Kucinich. There are 3 members of the board of the Progressive Democrats of America who worked for, or on behalf of, Kucinich. Yet, he wasn’t clever enough to use his ’15 minutes’ of Presidential candidate fame to draw attention not just to himself, but to the PDA. The PDA might be 10x larger today, than it is, had it been ‘advertised’ by Kucinich during the 2008 campaign.

Well, that’s water under the bridge. But the question remains: What are you, Kucinich, and other progressive members of Congress doing to grow the progressive movement. You do agree, don’t you, that you need ‘reinforcements’ in Congress?

What Congress critters GROWING the progressive movement could look like (0.00 / 0)

As an example of how progressive Congress critters could help grow a progressive movement: Every third Saturday, all progressive Congress critters will congregate in the same US city. They will first spend 3 hours doing grassroots recruitment – in malls, door-to-door, etc., in cooperation with local progressive groups. They will be recruiting not for the Democratic Party, but for PDA and other progressive groups. Secondly, they will afterwards meet in the same large auditorium, for a rally. The grassroots and rally activities will be filmed, and posted on the internet, to inspire activists in all 50 states. Cost of admission to the rally? Participation in the grassroots recruitment activities.  

They should not be focusing on specific issues (like single payer or strong public option health care), but rather using progressive issues that are currently being legislated as cases in point, which underscore the need for a progressive movement. The point is you don’t just want people to focus on a single issue or two, but rather organizing to move Congress in a progressive direction, on a long term basis.

I never got an answer…

I really don’t know what, if anything, Donna Edwards is doing to grow the progressive movement. My best guess is that she’s doing absolutely nothing in this direction, in spite of the weakness and small numbers of “progressives” in Congress. If anybody has any information, one way or the other, please report that information as a comment to this diary. I took a look at her Congressional website, and saw nothing in this vein.

Inquiring minds would like to know.

1 comment

  1. from the Firedoglake.com version of this diary:

    Wow, they haven’t banned you from “teh great orange satan” yet? I think I’m almost there…

    At any rate, Edwards has always been a conundrum for me. I used to live in her district, and she is a vast improvement over her Democratic predecessor.

    She has done work with MoveOn; there was a recent lobbying effort they spearheaded, and they did a tutorial video of how to approach legislators with her playing the role of the Congressperson to be lobbied. So she is volunteering and reaching out in small ways.

    Being loud isn’t her style, either; she’s just not a Grayson, Kuchinich, or Weiner style firebrand.

    But she is very much a MoveOn-style Democrat, which isn’t saying very much, and is even a little depressing.

    I actually like her, but I agree with you that we need and deserve better.

    I don’t know if she has explicitly tried to grow their base, but I don’t know if she’s allowed to. I’m not an attorney, but that sounds like it could be grounds for an ethics violation, especially if she has taken MoveOn campaign donations.

    But she is definitely supportive of them.

    I’m not a MoveOn fan either, mainly because of the work I have done with them. I’ve seen first hand what life is like inside the Veal Pen, and it’s not pretty. They can be useful idiots, at times.

    MoveOn is part of the “Veal Pen”, which we can think of as incidentally progressive, when it suits their real political purposes.

    The PDA has been accused of being part of the Veal Pen. I reject that, though I don’t think PDA is nearly as aggressive as it should be, so in many ways it seems indistinguishable from a Veal Pen organization. Mike Hersh, a political strategist for the PDA, recently started blogging at my.firedoglake, and I hit him with numerous specific recommendations and questions, mostly calling into question PDA’s aggressiveness. He pretty much ducked them all, instead often relying on sophistry (e.g., going up the abstraction ladder) to avoid a direct answer.

    E.g., Hersh claimed that PDA was tough:

    “Obama whose feet we hold to the fire every day in every way we can”

    but he wouldn’t answer my question about why PDA didn’t demand an apology from Obama when they found out about his back-stabbing deal with Tauzin.

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